Saturday, April 29, 2006

 

On a beautiful Saturday morning


Are you having fun being mayor? I hear that question every day and -- most of the time -- the answer is Yes! As I’ve said before it’s an experience that few get to enjoy, and I’m making memories all the time. This morning, for example, was Los Gatos Little League Day – the official opening of the season. I got to throw out the first pitch [thank goodness that pitiful effort was not televised] and, more importantly, helped to acknowledge the amazing efforts of Little League parents and supporters in collecting 1400 pounds of sports equipment for Pascagoula youth. FRANK BERGANDI went to Pascagoula last weekend for their opening day ceremony and threw out the first ball with Pascagoula Mayor Matthew Avarra [see photo]. He brought back a plaque of appreciation and presented it this morning to MARC MURANO, who was a pivotal person in the collection effort. It was fun to look around at the hundreds of Little Leaguers in Los Gatos on a beautiful Saturday morning and know that in Mississippi there are kids playing baseball and softball today as a result of our community’s generosity.

Friday, April 28, 2006

 

Applause for our volunteers

Last night was the annual Volunteer Recognition Reception to honor the residents who devote time to supporting the Town and its programs and activities. It’s part of National Volunteer Week which was started in 1974 to celebrate all that volunteers do to improve communities throughout the nation. In Los Gatos, we have more than 600 adults and youth who last year donated about 45,000 hours of time and talent to the town. They do everything from reading to kids in the library … to stuffing envelopes … to serving as reserve police officers … to helping with events like July 4th and Screen on the Green. Their contributions have an estimated value of more than $1 million! Wow.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

 

Friends are everywhere


Every Wednesday the Neighborhood Center is filled with 55+ residents who spend the morning playing cards and board games and then enjoy a delicious lunch. The mayor is invited to speak there every year, and it was nice to visit and to see old friends such as ANITA and DON WOLF [who may be beaming in this photo because of their grandbaby triplets!!]. Don sold me my first personal computer in the early ‘80s when he owned Wolf Computer on North Santa Cruz Avenue and Anita was a member of our inaugural Leadership Los Gatos class. I also ran into CHERYL HALLBERG, who I knew years ago when I was the faculty advisor of the Certificate in Marketing Communications program at San Jose State University. I stopped teaching when I was elected to Town Council in 2002, but I continue to cross paths with some of the students who were enrolled in the professional development classes. Many worked for high tech firms at the time and are now enjoying a different type of career that is less volatile but still uses some of the skill sets they developed in marketing communications. Anyway, it's nice to unexpectedly run into people you know -- one of the many advantages of living in a small town.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

 

Putting their best foot forward


My intent was to be a cheerleader last Thursday for the Los Gatos Morning Rotarians who took part in the YWCA “Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” event in downtown San Jose. These brave men – and a couple of hundred others – put on high heels and walked a mile to raise money for the YWCA Rape Crisis Center. Thank you, GREG STOWERS, for sending me a photo of what I missed when my schedule changed at the last minute. And thank you, CHRIS MARTINEZ, ERIK WILHELMSEN, CURTIS WRIGHT, TIM LUNDELL, JIM MEALEY, DAN WHITE, BARRY KRUPP, and JOHN CURTIS for enduring the misery of ladies shoes in order to call attention to a serious matter. When I became Mayor of Los Gatos I asked staff if they could give me a few facts and figures from each department that might startle people. Mixed in with the statistics on such things as how many miles of public streets we have [105] and how many public contacts are made to the Community Development Department [38,200] was the notation that our police department responds to an average of one domestic violence case every week, and that there were 8 rapes in town in 2005, up from 5 in 2004 and 2 in 2003. Even in paradise, there is trouble behind closed doors. Thank goodness for our PD, for the YWCA, and for concerned residents like the Los Gatos Morning Rotarians.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

 

Cutting the red ribbon



It is always a pleasure to attend the grand opening of a new or expanding business – even more so as Mayor when I get to help the business owner with the ceremonial ribbon-cutting. There is such excitement and optimism about the new venture. Friday night I was at the opening of Natural Expressions at 18 N. Santa Cruz Ave. with owners MEGAN ERK and CICEK HERRERA, and Chamber leaders PATTI RICE, BRENDA HAMMOND and PHIL JOHNSON. Afterwards my husband and I strolled the avenue and talked about how many kinds of businesses there need to be in a community to provide the goods and services we need for our personal and business lives. Years ago I did a work project for the City of Alameda where the residents constantly refer to the fact that they live on an island. Their priority was making sure that almost everything they could need or want was available without crossing a bridge or navigating an underwater tunnel. Ever since then I’ve thought about what types of businesses we are missing in Los Gatos that we would need to be a true “full service” town. Someday it would be interesting to see the results of a sales tax leakage to find out how much of our money is being spent in neighboring communities, and if it is because our residents can’t buy everything they need close to home. At Saturday morning’s annual Council-Commission retreat [where we meet with representatives of our Commissions to get face-to-face updates on their achievements and goals for the coming year] JACQUI KEMP, chair of the Youth Commission, told us about a quick survey they did asking Youth Commissioners where they shop. Many take their dollars out of town because we don’t have the products, brands, or price points they prefer. More research on the buying power of Los Gatos teens would be valuable information for current businesses who may be overlooking a profitable market segment, and for property owners and commercial real estate brokers as they recruit new businesses for our neighborhood shopping centers and downtown.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

 

Say hey to the Greats


They are called The Greatest Generation, and we are losing every day some of the men and women who lived through World War II. That is why the Stories of Service project is so important, and why it warranted a special Commendation from the Town of Los Gatos this week. Stories of Service links teens, such as CHRIS SHELDON, a sophomore at Los Gatos High School, with veterans who are encouraged to tell their stories in short videos that can be preserved for future generations. There are more than 500 of these digital stories now completed, and some are in the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. I was happy to see so many of the participants in Council Chambers and proud we could honor them. And if you see any of these folks around town, ask them about their story, or go to the website www.stories-of-service.org. Thank you [back row from left] ROBERT CORPUS, PAUL FERDINANDSON, PHILLIP PARHAM, CHRIS SHELDON, DEAN JOY, NICK MOLLE, STAN PETERSON, DANIEL MOLLE [front row from left] MARY ELLEN LOCKE, MARSHA PARHAM, JANET RADONICH, PETER RADONICH, ANN JOY, LAVADA PETERSON, MELANIE MOLLE.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

 

Play ball!



April 29 is Little League Day in Los Gatos so it was appropriate to have a few representatives of local teams help us with the Pledge of Allegiance at this week’s Council meeting. Thank you to STEPHANIE HIBBITTS for this photo of me with the players: MATT BERGANDI, JOEY BERGANDI, KYLE KEVORKIAN, CLIFFORD HIBBITTS, CLAY HIBBITTS, and LYLE HIBBITTS. It brought back fond and not-so-fond memories of the days when I was attending games at Balzer Field to watch my stepson play first base for the Los Gatos Little League minor division Dodgers team. The not-so-fond part is remembering what it is like to have Snack Shack duty while pregnant with my daughter (who participated in softball while at Van Meter). Gooey nachos is not such a good thing when you’re fighting morning sickness. I’ve also included here a photo sent from Pascagoula, Mississippi showing the gleeful girls’ softball team and their coaches unpacking the 7 pallets of equipment donated by parents and friends of Los Gatos Little League. The kids in our adopted Katrina-ravaged city will have a great spring season, thanks to the generosity of Los Gatos residents.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

Arias to start the day


This morning I spoke to the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors - Los Gatos group. It’s one of the traditional stops on the Mayor’s “speaking circuit” and I was happy to spend some time with them to talk about the future of Los Gatos. It was a lively meeting at Willow Street Pizza that started with fabulous music from opera singers SANDRA RUBALCAVA and CHRIS BERGOCHEA, compliments of BILL ANDERS, a former Los Gatos High School football quarterback and now owner of Factory Direct Carpets. I talked about how people are often surprised to learn the demographic profile of our town. We are family focused, and yet only 28% of our households [according to the 2000 census] have children under the age of 18. Who else lives here? Singles, married without children, empty nesters, seniors. At the time of the count 27% of our population was 55+ and that percentage grows every year as the Baby Boomers move towards retirement. What does this mean for the community? In my mind it underscores the importance of having variety in our housing stock so that every resident – at each stage of life – has options for how to define “home.” Thank you to MIKE MORESCO for inviting me and to District Chair BRIAN BERNASCONI for the making me feel so welcome.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

 

On the look-out for a book

I read a lot – about 100 books a year. Maybe a few less in 2006 since the Mayor role takes up quite a bit of time. But reading is still part of my daily routine, especially early in the morning while I’m waiting for the newspapers to arrive. I read a lot of mysteries, but I am also fond of books centered in small towns. If you’re already familiar with Mitford, Covington, Pickax, Lake Emily, Alpine, Abbotsville, Partonville, Crozet and Long Piddleton, you’re my kind of reader. The problem is that my favorite authors can’t write as fast as I read, so I’m always looking for new writers to enjoy. If you have a recommendation, I would welcome it. One good thing about being at the Civic Center several times a week, it’s very convenient to take full use of the Los Gatos Library. I comb the book review sections and place my name on the waiting list for bestsellers. It’s exciting to get that notice in the mail that one of my reserved books is available for pick up. Shareholders in Borders and amazon are probably sad, but my bank account and already filled-to-the-brim bookshelves are happy to see me take advantage of the wonderful service available FREE to all of us. Yeah for public libraries!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

 

What's in a name?


It's election season, and that means many requests to those of us who are electeds to endorse candidates. Because I do a lot of work with cities in my PR business, I am not endorsing anyone in city council or mayor races, but I am happy to lend my name to quality candidates for regional, statewide and national offices. One of these is Karyn Sinunu who is running for District Attorney. A campaign event for her this afternoon in the Los Gatos home of Rick and Julie DiNapoli brought out a couple hundred supporters including my fellow Los Gatos Town Council Members Joe Pirzynski, Barbara Spector and Mike Wasserman and Saratoga Mayor Norman Kline. You'll also see my name on the endorsement lists of County Assessor candidate Larry Stone, County Supervisor Don Gage, Assembly candidate Jim Beall, Santa Clara Valley Water District Director Rosemary Kamei, and our Congressional Representative Mike Honda.

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